Star Wars: Dawn of Darkness

The Crawl

It is a dark dawn for our heroes would-be rebellion as not only has the Imperial senate abandoned support for their coup and their forces driven into the lower levels of the planet-spanning Galactic capital in a stunning defeat at the hands of the Galactic Empire, but would would appear to be the Emperor himself has in fact risen from his supposed death on Naboo to lead the Empire in the conquest of their throne world.

Even as the Emperor was seemingly killed again and his minion Darth Vader incapacitated, this time directly at the hands of our heroes, Thrax has been terribly wounded and Akira has vanished while AIdan and Nyla race to the aid of the fast retreating and disintegrating alliance of rebels.

Our heroes now face their greatest challenge yet in the face of total defeat as they strive to rescue their defeated forces amid the collapse of their bold plot to restore peace and justice to the Galaxy and survive to fight another day….

He Heard, and Now He Understands

Akira awoke on white solid ground, confused, but suffering no pain from the injuries he suffered at the hands of what appeared to be the Emperor. Akira rose and discovered that white was all he could see, and that he could not tell where the solid white floor began and where the perfectly white sky ended. He called out to anyone nearby who could hear him, when suddenly from the white abyss emerged a small human female child of a dark complexion.

The child greeted Akira and welcomed him to her realm, and when he asked what realm this was she told him that this was a realm where her conciousness existed, a realm beyond that of the physical nature of the universe itself but a realm which was also connected to it, where passage between the two realms is possible. Akira asked if he was dead, to which the young girl assured him he wasn’t. She explained that he had found his way there because in an instant when defending himself against the Emperor he channelled more power of the Force than most Force-users have ever channelled, and combined with the violent Force scream of the Emperor, Akira was hurled through time, space and the Force itself to this realm. The young girl assured Akira that she always knew he would be safe, so long as he followed the advice that she had given him. Akira was confused by this as he didn’t remember meeting the girl before, to which the girl responded that he and Nyla had in fact met her together, in the physical universe, when they say her by her physical form, the Celestine.

Suddenly Akira remembered. It was when he and Nyla were in the cockpit of Bukah Hozard’s ship Bigger Berta and they had witnessed what Bukah later had told them was a ship of legend, the Celestine, an unmanned ship powered by a droid brain that achieved sentience and travels the galaxy revealing itself only to those it sees fit. At the time it transmitted a confusing signal to Akira and Nyla via radio, but now as Akira remembered the strange haunting transmission he understood it. It was an assurance, an assurance to whomever is hearing it that the Emperor is not infallible, that he can be beaten, and that as doomed as things may seem they are in fact on a path to the resurgence of the light side of the Force. The young child, the Celestine told Akira that she knew that either she or Nyla would be the one who would find their way here to this realm, but she couldn’t be certain which one it would be. It was then that a voice from behind Akira spoke and assured him that he had always known he would be the one to find his way there. Akira turned and found himself face to face with his former , Content Not Found: null.

Akira’s master told his former student that while the distance between them had grown too great, so long as Akira remained in this realm, which was closer to the realm of the Force, they could speak for a brief time. Akira asked if he knew if the figure they faced on Imperial Center was in fact the Emperor, and his master told him it was. When Akira asked how could that be, he was told that somehow the Emperor had found a way to return from the dead, but what may be at a terrible cost. What that cost was Akira’s master did not know, but he assured Akira that such an act of defiance against the nature of the living universe itself would surely come at a terrible price.

Akira was angry to hear this, and demanded to know what the point of everything they had done was if the Emperor could simply return from the dead at will. He asked how could anything they do matter if they would always be struck down by not only his powerful hand but by the might of the entire Galaxy Empire that existed to serve him.

Akira’s master told his student that in only one year of training, of meeting new allies and taking on a student of his own Akira had shaken the very foundation of the Galactic Empire to it’s core and shown that the Emperor could be defeated. He told Akira that though it may take time, he could see the Emperor being defeated for good and the Galactic Empire laying in ashes at the feet of a Galaxy free from tyranny and a Jedi order reborn.

Akira hesitated to respond, still disappointed and heartbroken at the failure of all their plans to unseat the Empire, but he understood his master, and told him that he too believed that they could succeed, acknowledging that he accepted the idea that though he himself may not see the end of Empire he would fight to ensure his son would.

Akira’s master told his former student that though Akira may never be the Jedi he’d originally planned for him to be, he still may be the Jedi that the Galaxy needs. Both master and student wished each other that the Force would be with them both. The Celestine child then told Akira that she would escort him back to the physical universe, taking his hand before he was blinded by a flash of pure white light.

Comrades Retrieved

Through the broken and cratered floor from the sewer drain tunnel underneath, Parias with Content Not Found: null along with Darius’s howling 99 looked at the remains of the battle fought between the Emperor, Vader, Nyla, Aidan, Akira and Thrax.

The entire room was in ruins, with the ceiling blown off as the first hint of daybreak appeared in the sky over the still smouldering ruins of the city-wide battle that had raged just a day before. In the middle of the room lay Thrax, unconscious, and surrounded by Imperial medics and Stormtroopers preparing to take him to an interrogation center where he would surely be tortured when he awoke.

As Parias and Shad discussed how to rescue their injured comrade, a flash of white light blinded the entire, and Akira appeared fully healed and uninjured to the surprise of the Stormtroopers who surrounded him. Akira quickly drew his blade and dispatched the troopers and allowing the unarmed medics to flee. Parias, Shad and the others quickly revealed themselves to Akira, and after a very brief exchange led Akira to the underground passages that lead to the deep lower-levels of the planet where what was left of their forces were currently held up against the still advancing Empire.

With Nowhere to Run

After Akira rejoined the others along with what was left of their friends in the senate and their own security forces, Owen Tobt and what was left of their friends in the planet’s police force, Content Not Found: null_ and her pirate allies and, Content Not Found: null_ and her Mandalorians, Content Not Found: null and the Dantooine miltia, Theux Paddox and his House Troopers from the Tapani Sector and the remaining protesting Clone Wars veterans who had taken up their cause at deep in Level 1313 in the bowels of the Coruscant underworld.

Their forces, numbering less than twenty-thousand were exhausted, having retreated through the levels of the city all night after a full days worth of fighting. They only now had the chance to rest and recouperate because the criminal elments that ruled over the levels above them were no friends of the Empire, and were not fully cooperating in helping the Empire move their forces through the congested levels of the planet. Even still, those same criminal elements were not the friends of our heroes, and had given them a mere twenty-four hours to vacate the entire level. With further retreat all but impossible, there were few options left.

While some considered surrender, Chancellor Vipoth insisted that they would not survive if they surrendered, and assured the heroes that even though things looked bleak she and her political allies were still on the side of the rebellion, even as they had all been branded traitors. It was then that Akira thought to ask their prisoner Director Armand Isard if he knew of any secret way off of the planet. As it turned out, the director, with the Force persuasion of Akira and Nyla told Aidan about a series of emergency escape transports in hidden starports only a few levels beneath where they were. The starports were built by Imperial Intelligence for the purposes of helping Imperial personnel escape the planet in the event of a coup. Even better, the network of transports had the capacity to move nearly fifty-thousand personnel, well more than the heroes and their rebel allies needed.

Aidan wished to now execute the director for Imperial Intelligence’s part in the New Order’s brutality, but only after publicly humiliating him first before the entire Empire as one last humiliation before their escape. Akira warned against this however, as even revealing that the director had been taken prisoner in the first place would alert the Empire to the need to change all of the encryption information that he had provided to Content Not Found: null, rendering scores of secrets and vulnerabilities they had learned about the Empire useless. Reluctantly, Aidan agreed, and after Nyla and Akira wiped his memory clean of the last two days events, they released him into a small transport bound for the surface.

We Shall Return

With what little strength their forces had left, the party and their allies spent the next two days moving their already exhausted forces further down into the planet’s lower levels, until they had reached the secret starports of Imperial Intelligence. Using the entry codes the director had divulged before being released, the party and all of the rebels entered the massive transports, and activated the secret escape tunnels that lead to the planet’s surface. Just before leaving young Content Not Found: null apologized to Nyla for sneaking onto Akira’s ship to travel to Coruscant. He told her that he wanted so badly to see his homeworld again that he had acted foolishly, and was sorry to have caused her so much worry. Nyla told Umdat that he was forgiven, but made him promise not to do something like that again. Umdat agreed, but told Nyla that he would return to Coruscant one day, and that when he did he’d bring enough of his friends with him to free the planet, and that if the Empire ever wanted to push little guys around again they’d have to go through him.

To say the least, Nyla was proud of Umdat and delighted that he no longer lived in fear of the Empire.

With all of the party aboard the Renegade and Akira aboard the Naboo Royal Shuttle he flew to Coruscant days earlier, the party opened the secret tunnels, which they and their allies aboard the once-hidden transports used to fly to the planet’s surface to the surprise of the Imperial forces who had been finally closing in on the rebels. Having passed their pursuers in hundreds of their transports, their vessels blasted their way into the Coruscant sunset as the surprised ground batteries opened fire in vain, hopelessly missing their targets.

With the fleet of hundreds of transports in orbit, the party quickly found themselves staring dead ahead to the Imperial armada that had defeated their naval forces and now surrounded the planet. As they neared the firing range of thousands of Imperial warships, Akira gave the order for all the transports to fly dangerously close together in one small cluster.

The Imperial commanders saw this and thought it was a suicidal move, making the party & the rebels an even easier target. The guns of the Imperial Star Destroyers were brought to bear on the small transports, but a moment before they opened fire Akira flew his Naboo Royal Shuttle directly beside the Renegade, and asked them to open their cargo bay door. In the back of the shuttle Akira activated the ace he help up his sleeve, the Neutral Detonator which the party had stolen two of from the headquarters of Imperial Intelligence. With a safety buffer three kilometres wide, the device quickly created an expanding ion wave that caught the Empire by complete surprise, disabling their Star Destroyers and forcing them to flee in panic less they be damaged by colliding with other disabled ships.

Although the device itself overloaded the electronics of Akira’s Naboo Royal Shuttle, he ejected the pilot’s seat into space right in the direction of the Renegade’s open cargo door which he safely landed inside of.

With the Imperial blockade broken and in disarray, it’s panicked commanders still attempted to open fire on the fleeing rebels and the party, but their blasters and torpedo’s met only dead space as just before they opened fire the hundreds of transports together, with their destination set for the planet Ossus, made the jump to hyperspace.

The party and the rebels had escaped.

By Any Other Name

In a deep cavern on the arid and toxic world of Ossus the party and their twenty-thousand allies began the hard work of carving out a hospitable home. With access to a vast underground river and natural underground vegetation the party was very hopeful that they would be able to make a home on Ossus and build a secret hidden base for future operations against the Empire.

One day after almost a week had passed after their escape from Coruscant, a small shuttle arrived with a single visitor, Content Not Found: null, who while appearing nervous and uneasy told the party that his master, the Matron wished to speak with the party immediately.

The party boarded the Renegade and flew to the edges of Wild Space once more, where they landed on the uncharted rogue world of Ayi on the very edges of a deadly nebula.

There on the mysterious planet, under the nebula’s glow as bright as any sun the party made their way once more to the ancient and ruined temple long since hidden by the planet’s encroaching jungle on the banks of a raging river.

In the temple Jeyen once again lead the party to the long abandoned throne room, where the Matron waited with her back turned to the party. Jeyen said nothing as he stood in the rooms edge, leaving the party to ask why they had been summoned.

The Matron revealed that she was disappointed that the party had failed to kill either the Emperor or Vader, and that a great opportunity had been lost. Akira reassured the Matron that they had shown that the Empire could be defeated by a population that rises against them, and that the damage they had down to the Empire’s grip of fear was no small feat.

Even still the Matron let the party know how angry she was that after all of the “opportunities for growth and learning” that she had provided them with they hadn’t used their newfound skills to destroy the Emperor with brute strength of might and the Force.. Aiden reassured the Matron that before they were a group of four and were not a group of twenty-thousand, and were sure to rally even more to their side in the coming weeks, months and years.

Still the Matron carried on, telling the party that it was not their job to lead a “political movement” but to install themselves are strong men and Force users to head to galaxy that needed strength and power to control it. Nyla asked the Matron how different could they be from the Emperor if they ruled by the power of the Force and with brute strength as he did? Aidan and Akira joined Nyla in telling the Matron that they didn’t intend to be puppet dictators for anyone, and that they intended to restore freedom to the Galaxy.

The Matron was now enraged, turning her hooded face to see the party and scolding them again for their ignorance and naivety, claiming that they had betrayed her by not following her directives to kill the Emperor so that she could restore order to the Galaxy. She ordered them to immediately aid her in coming up with a new plan to take control of the Empire’s military might and destroy Vader and the Emperor.

The party refused, and though Jeyen now spoke to insist to the Matron that the party’s approach may be useful yet, the Matron with the Force pulled Akira’s and Nyla’s lightsaber’s from them, activating them and holding them to their faces while drawing Aidan’s blaster from his holster and holding it against his head.

The stunned party looked at the Matron as a horrified Jeyen begged his mistress not to kill the party, telling her that so much pain and suffering will have been for nothing if she struck them down.

Nyla stood defiantly against the Matron, telling her that no matter what she did she would not fight the Matron, turning her back on the Matron instead and heading for the throne room’s exist, leaving her lightsaber behind in the Matron’s clutches. Aidan followed suit, telling the Matron that his causes were his own, and he was no one’s mercenary. Akira followed last, simply telling the Matron that they had a rebellion to lead.

Enraged, the Matron let their weapons drop and broke the very walls of the temple apart to hurl at the party, dealing critical damage to the party as their backs were turned and pinning them under massive boulders. Jeyen now pleaded lougly to the Matron that this couldn’t be the will of the Force, that heroes had come so far and grown so strong, and that surely the Force couldn’t be asking them to kill yet more.

The Matron only responded by telling Jeyen that the party were responsible for this outcome themselves, and that if they had listened and obeyed like they were supposed to have she wouldn’t have to be doing this at all. As now the Matron drew even larger boulders and rocks with which she intended to finally crush the heroes, the taunted them one last time, telling them they live in defiance of the will of the Force. It was now that Aidan, Akira and Nyla were ready to face the end of their lives, when Jeyen drew his own lightsaber, ran across the room and plunged it into the heart of his mistress.

Stunning, the staggered back, rage and pain boiling within, until she let out a cry so loud and powerful it blasted the entire temple apart, sending the party hurling into night sky.

Amends

Nyla was the first to wake up in the med bay aboard the Renegade deep in hyperspace, where after seeing that her injured has been tended to, along with a still unconscious but stable Akira and Aidan, she made her way to the Renegade’s bridge where she found Jeyen piloting the ship.

Jeyen explained that the Matron was dead, and that the temple where he had been trained had been destroyed by the Force scream she unleashed in her final moments. When Nyla asked who the Matron really was and why she sought to control the galaxy, Jeyen simply responded that she believed she as the only one who was right, and that for years he had believed her. He did what she told him to because he believed that the Sith would be defeated through her plan and only then could the Galaxy be “free”, though he now understood that what she saw as freedom was only another form of tyranny.

Soon Akira and Aidan came to and joined Nyla and Jeyen on the bridge of the Renegade, where Jeyen now apologized for all the pain, suffering, grief and loss that they had suffered from his doing. He told them he did not deserve forgiveness, but only asked that they know he was sorry.

Even still, the party forgave Jeyen.

The Renegade soon after landed on Dantooine in the starport of the now all but abandoned settlement of Ecumenopolis. There the party exited the ship with Jeyen, who with the Force called for a large beast of burden to come to him so he could take it as his mount.

It was then that Nyla realized that Jeyen was seriously hurt and bleeding, something he had hidden from her. When she said that she could help heal him, Jeyen told Nyla that she could not offer the healing he needed, and that he had a journey to undertake here on Dantooine.

From atop his mount Jeyen told the party that he was very proud of them, and that the galaxy was a far better place for the decisions they’d made, and wished them that the Force would be with them all before leaving into the setting sun of Dantooine in the direction Kiwa village of Purok.

An early fall breeze blew through the grassy plain, rustling the leaves in the trees fast turning brown, orange and red. The settlement that not so long ago was busy with all kinds of activity was now near silent as only the breeze could be heard. No ore boats shipped loads of ore down the river, no ships landed and took off from the starport, and not a single voice could be heard across the countryside.

Nyla, Aidan and Akira agreed that this should be the last time they set foot on Dantooine and boarded the Renegade to make their way to their new home of Ossus. From the bridge of the ship for a brief instance against the setting sun, on a distant hill Nyla and Akira saw the spirits of Content Not Found: null_, Nyla’s master Content Not Found: null_ and Content Not Found: null smiling at them.

The Renegade took to the sky as the party said one last goodbye to the planet that was their home for so much struggles, thankful for the refuge it provided.

With hearts of courage the party left the blue and green world behind for a future they could not understand but none the less were ready to see through, and although there would remain battles to be fought, and trials to be had, friends to come and go and hardships to face, there are those who said that the future was just a little brighter that day for those who survived the dawn of darkness.

*GM’S NOTE: This is not the end of the story, but rather the end of the story I set out to tell. What happens to the player characters is ultimately up to only the players themselves.

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Dyluth

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